“Can Snowboarding Be Saved?”

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Faceshots…  photo:  getty images

Here’s an excerpt from an article published on Monday by Outside Magazine.  This guy, Marc Perruzi, thinks that Snowboarding is on its last legs.

Do you think Snowboarding is doomed?

Travis Rice
Travis Rice

“Can Snowboarding Be Saved?”

by Marc Peruzzi/Outside Magazine

“It sounds like borderline bigotry to say it, but I have “snowboarding friends.” In fact, from adulthood on, most of my skiing memories are tied up with snowboarding. Frankly, skiing would be a lot less fun without it. From twin tips and fat skis to better clothing and a more laissez-faire attitude at ski resorts, the advent of snowboarding dramatically altered my once-stale sport. So please trust that I’m not just a hater when I say this: Snowboarding is screwed.

Many a destination resort will admit privately that snowboarding now accounts for less than 15 percent of total revenue. Others have seen snowboard visits cut in half. Sales of snowboarding gear are down dramatically, too, a whopping 29 percent over the past six years. Where did all the snowboarders go? Many are skiing. Others simply quit.


It didn’t really have to be like this. The problem isn’t so much snowboarding, but the snowboarding industry. The sport was invented by humble folk in the Midwest (by a friend’s grandfather) and Vermont (by some older classmates of my wife), but it was adopted by Southern California. Actually it was more of an alien rendition than an adoption. Most snowboarders in places like Maine, Montana, and Colorado have little affiliation with the carefully cultivated image of “action sports.” Then there’s the ageism. Over 30 years old but still get out and shred? The industry lives in absolute dread of you.

I’m not making this up. Each February I experience the unrestrained joy of attending the ski and snowboard trade show in Denver. Here’s what I see when I walk the snowboard section: Underage snowboarders puking in the corridors after one too many keg stands—at 10 a.m. And overseeing all this fabricated youthfulness? Fifty-year-old white dudes in flat-brim caps, tight jeans, and designer flannel. Chuckleheads. Leveraging snowboarding’s rebel cred, they modeled its image on skateboarding and aimed it almost entirely at teenagers.

Travis Rice, the poster board for Snowboarding right now
Travis Rice, the poster board for Snowboarding right now

That worked great for a while. Then snowboarding went mainstream—the X Games, Mountain Dew ads, Shaun White—and, inevitably, it lost a bit of its mojo. The first generation of riders got real jobs and started having kids, and snowboarding’s image never matured to accommodate them.

As snowboarding went narrow, skiing went big. Today’s skiers can choose to carve turns, launch off the slopestyle jumps, hammer bumps, navigate steeps, tour the backcountry, rip bottomless pow, race in a beer league, or just go skiing like a vacationer from Chicago or Boca Friggin’ Raton. It’s cool; there’s a place for you and a group of likeminded folks who would love to have you. Cooler still if you’re a lifelong enthusiast? Dabble in all the above. Skiing isn’t golf; there’s always some new adventure waiting for you.” – Marc Peruzzi/Outside Magazine

Snowboarding still has soul.
Snowboarding still has soul.

This article ends with this bold statement:  

And why are they hanging with a sport that doesn’t care about them anymore? Because snowboarding is fun. And, ultimately, that’s all that matters. If, like skiing, the industry does a better job of making everybody feel comfortable, it might even thrive. If not, skiing will continue to absorb snowboarders, much as Homo sapiens absorbed Neanderthals. Take what you will from that analogy. And allow me to preempt your letter to the editor: I’m a hater.”  – Marc Peruzzi/Outside Magazine

Read the full article here:

“Can Snowboarding Be Saved?”


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8 thoughts on ““Can Snowboarding Be Saved?”

  1. This guy doesn’t know wtf he’s yappin about. if anything skiing needs to be saved ( only not really ) leave the skies on the cross country trails instead of putting down the slopes, stopping at the tops of hill’s and generally getting in the way. And they never look like they’re having fun! I’ve never seen skiers hit the tree runs, park or deep powder runs. In sure they do but I’ve never seen it. And look at the ski only resort’s that have invited boarders to their slopes (vail, taos and even Silverton). Why? Buiness. People arnt learning to ski anymore. Boarding is a huge buiness and it’s the future. We push ourselves far beyond our limits to enhance our sport. There’s not much left to do in the line of skiing, it’s pretty much been done. I cant imagine how you came to the conclusion that snowboarding is a dying sport but I guess that could just be skier mentality. Snowboarding is the future.

  2. Having worked in the snow industry for K2 (who aquired Ride, who aquired SMP) and watching how it was all about the money and cool guys, I can say they are the killers. Mature or not, snowboarding puts in the mind that kids who want to surf, think they are. Surfing is not a hodad sport anymore either and less midwesterners will move with reckless abandon and plop as a beach pumper in Southern California or Nor Cal for that matter. The europeans are taking that place and can not swim. And for the slopestyle jumpers on hippy sticks, it is cool to see them looking like they are on roller blades, that which will never happen on the ocean thank goodness (with the exception of Chuck Patterson, who I had to kick out of the SMP booth more than once). And sorry, but true, stand up paddlers look like skiers going really slow and getting in the way too.

    But the boyz on the hippy sticks through the park? Sagging like the Insane Clown Posse?

    Sorry to say, you bad boys have scared the euro snowboard stylists off the mountain. was it not the Olympics? the skiers biting 90s snowboard style for shizzzle.

    One question……who won the slope style or even any major ski event anyway?

    Another question……did shawn white win? we snowboarders know he did not……and all of you skiers know that too.

    Do you see the winners or loosers of the ski events on gum packets?

    I did not think so. We are here to stay, and I ain’t saggin like JP Walker, but I do like his style and will buy his 32s.

    I wish I started skiing first, then I would be cool now.

  3. Speaking for the 30-something crew who skied as kids, snowboarded as teenagers, and went back to skiing… I think that those of us who are having kids and are from ski families, we’ve gone back to skiing. It seems natural to be teaching lil groms to ski first. And because of the kid factor, we go back to skiing as well, if we hadn’t already switched back because of better ski technology. That’s just one part of the equation, but a big one when you look at long term spenders in the snow sports economy.

    Course there is the fad factor… snowboarding isn’t going anywhere, but the fad is over.

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